April 21, 2018
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Bangor plan available for public review

By Eric Russell, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — After nearly two years and hundreds of hours of discussion, the city’s special committee on comprehensive planning is ready to release its findings to the public.

Bangor typically embarks on crafting a new comprehensive plan every five years, City Planner David Gould said, as a way to give guidance and vision for the future development of the city. The plan essentially is a close-up look at all aspects of Bangor in the present while looking ahead at what it could be in the future.

The latest process began in the fall of 2008 and culminates with the drafting of a 40-page document that includes sections on housing, economic development, transportation, natural resources, schools, arts and regionalization, among others.

Some of the points and suggestions in the plan include:

— New housing development shall support community and economic development in terms of serving all segments of the population.

— Provide leadership in collaboration with public and private regional efforts whose goal it is to increase sound economic activity leading to the development of jobs and a cost-effective approach to bringing resources to Bangor and the region.

— Encourage appropriate and economically viable uses of Bangor’s historic structures to provide incentives and offset conservation costs.

— Sufficient land shall be acquired to provide for future growth and-or improvements to existing neighborhood schools.

“This is not a budget tool but more a policy document to guide city councilors,” Gould said.

Before the report is sent to the City Council for its consideration, the committee wants to hear views and comments from the community. A public session will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 25, at City Hall.

At the meeting, residents will be asked what makes Bangor different from other communities, what assets does Bangor have, how can Bangor be a healthier place to live and how can the city improve the many “gateways” that bring people to Bangor.

The last comprehensive plan update was in 2005. Gould said that process involved mostly planning staff and planning board members.

“There was not as much input from other entities of the city [in 2005],” he said. “So when it was done, it was a good plan, but when it went on to the City Council for adoption, they didn’t know much about it.”

This time around, the city reached out to a broader group of participants.

“We included a diverse group of people to help put together the plan. We broke the discussions up into topic areas, so we had sessions with bankers, members of the health care community, education officials,” Gould said.

The members included city councilors, planning board members, a school committee representative, a historic preservation committee member, a cultural commission member and four resident appointees.

One of the main things that emerged during the most recent comprehensive plan discussions was preserving Bangor’s diverse neighborhoods, the city planner said.

“A lot of people seemed to like our dense, urban residential core of the city and features like tree-lined streets and parks,” he said. “But we also found that so many things are tied together when we talk about promoting growth and economic development.”

Copies of the document are available for review at the planning office at Bangor City Hall during normal business hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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